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The Story of Sarah & Daniel, Part Two

Posted on the 01 June 2012 by Steph's Scribe @stephverni

Dear Readers,

Here is the balance of the short story. Thanks for reading. This is for last night’s book club, which prefers a less tidy ending.

The Story of Sarah & Daniel, Part Two


Two weeks later, Daniel called her from the airport.

“I’m on my way back, but we need to talk. Can you meet me for lunch or coffee?”

“Sure,” Sarah said, excited to see him. “What time?”

“How about noon.”

They decided not to meet at their usual spot, but instead at a Starbucks on the other side of town, close to her office.

She was seated at one of the tables sipping on a black iced tea when he walked in, just a few minutes late.

“Hello,” he said, reaching down to kiss her on the lips.

“Hello, stranger,” she said, a twinkle in her eye.

They made small talk for a few minutes, but Daniel’s demeanor—his fidgeting and the way he was running his hands through his hair—indicated that perhaps there was something wrong. Sarah asked him to tell her what it was.

“I’m being relocated to Miami,” he said.

Sarah feared this was coming. He’d been gone a lot recently, and she had worried that perhaps the company was ready to make a move.

“And you’re going,” she said.

“I don’t have much of a choice right now,” he said. “I love the company and my job, as you know.”

“Yes,” she said. “I understand.”

“I’m sorry it’s coming at a time when we were just really starting to figure things out.”

“Me, too,” she said. She could tell he was not going to ask her to come with him. She could tell he was going on his own. She could tell this may have been a break he needed. That he wanted to get away, which made her sad, and it stung.

“Maybe it will just be temporary,” he said.

“Why? Has the company given you an indication that it will be temporary?”

“Not in so many words.”

She played with her straw. She was having difficulty looking him in the eyes.

“Well,” she said. “I’m not sure how I should react or how you want me to respond. Obviously, this is going to be difficult. And I think what you’re trying to tell me is that you are going, and I am staying here, and that doesn’t make for much of a relationship.”

“We can try the long-distance thing,” he said.

“With our schedules?” She shook her head. “This is crazy. I didn’t think we’d get to this place this quickly.”

Daniel went to touch her hand, and she pulled it away, the hurt coursing through her body so much so that she had to get out of Starbucks. She stood and grabbed her purse.

“You’ll have to forgive me, Daniel, but I have to go. I can’t do this. I wish you well. Best of luck in Miami.”

She turned and left her black iced tea and Daniel behind.

* * *

For two weeks after Daniel left, Sarah had not felt well. Her stomach was sick, and she would often feel queasy. On several occasions, she had actually thrown up. Her heart was broken, and she blamed herself for everything. First, her marriage fell apart, and Jim no longer loved her. And then Daniel had to move, choosing his job over their relationship. What was it about her that drove men away, she wondered. She couldn’t figure it out, though she would play the scenes over and over in her mind. Most nights, she ended up crying herself to sleep.

Daniel had left her messages. He even went so far as to send her flowers with a card that read, “Dear Sarah, I’m so sorry. I miss you. Daniel.”

She tossed them in the garbage.

There was no, “I love you. I made a mistake,” or “I want you to come to Miami.”

She refused to return his calls.

When she threw up every morning of fifth week he was gone, and realizing that stress was affecting every ounce of her body, she took herself to the doctor.

When the doctor asked if there were any chance she could be pregnant, Sarah’s face turned white.

She hadn’t wanted to acknowledge that she hadn’t had her cycle in weeks, because this same thing had happened during the trying times of her divorce. She had missed. It was blamed on stress.

She assumed it was happening again.

The doctor came back in the room.

Congratulations. You’re expecting, he told her.

* * *

Daniel continued to call, despite her lack of any return communication. He knew he’d hurt her.

Daniel himself felt ill. He’d chosen poorly. He wasn’t sure they were ready for a big commitment. More importantly, he wasn’t sure she was ready. He could tell there were still some issues she was dealing with regarding Jim. Their divorce had only become final three months ago. When the company had told him he was going to Miami, he thought maybe the distance would help them figure it out…figure out just what this relationship was all about. He didn’t know she would cut him off, but now he could see her vulnerability. Perhaps it was naïve of him, but he didn’t fully expect that his leaving meant they were over. Clearly, she did. But he’d never been left before, and she had been.

And now that he was gone, and alone in a one-bedroom temporary rental in Florida, he was beginning to regret this decision that he’d made for both of them.

* * *

Sarah awoke, sick to her stomach. It was four-thirty in the morning. She had unusual cramping, and made her way to the bathroom. When she looked down and saw red, she knew immediately that she had to get to a doctor.

* * *

At just about three months – eleven weeks to be exact – Sarah lost the baby. She had only known for a short time that she was pregnant, and she hadn’t told Daniel. In fact, she hadn’t told anyone but her mother, who had kindly flown in from Chicago to be with her, comfort her, and offer support.

Sarah held her mother’s hand and cried.

“How did my life get like this?” she asked.

* * *

It was her mother who opened the door that Thursday morning, six days after her doctor had admitted her to the hospital to be cared for after the loss. She’d been in some physical pain since, mainly cramping, and debilitating emotional pain. Her mother insisted on staying for two weeks. She couldn’t imagine leaving her to fend for herself.

The doorbell rang at an unusually early hour.

She peered through the peephole and found an attractive man standing there, flowers in his hands. She wondered. Sarah was still asleep, as she’d been sleeping in quite late, and often didn’t peek her head out until well after ten in the morning. The doctor said to be patient, that her sadness could linger for a month or two afterwards.

Her mother opened the door.

“Hello,” she said.

“Oh, do I have the wrong apartment?” he asked.

“Not if you’re looking for Sarah. I’m her mother.”

“Hello,” he said, not knowing what exactly to call her. “Is she here? I’m a…I’m Daniel.”

Her mother didn’t know how to handle the question. She knew Sarah hadn’t wanted to tell him, had wanted to keep everything to herself. For now. But her mother didn’t think that was fair. She had urged her to contact him. After all, he was the father. He had a right to know. But as Daniel stood before her, she decided to tread lightly. It was her daughter’s decision, after all.

“She’s not been well,” her mother said.

Daniel’s face turned white.

“She’s okay,” her mother continued. “She’s just not been herself. She’s sleeping now. May I take the flowers if they are for her?”

“Yes,” he said, flustered. “Of course.”

“I will let her know you stopped by.”

Daniel didn’t know what to say. He began to talk, and then backed down. He started to walk away and down the hall, but turned briefly to say, “Thank you.” Her mother closed the door and put the flowers in a vase with water.

There was another knock at the door. Sarah’s mother opened it again, and Daniel stood before her.

“Actually, could I ask you to pass along a message?” he asked.

“Sure,” her mother said.

“Can you tell her that I’m home?”

Her mother nodded.

“And possibly for good,” he said.

Sarah had heard the knock and was standing out of his line of sight. She was still a little weak and shuffled over. He saw her.

“Possibly for good, you say?” Sarah said.

His eyes started to water when he saw her. She looked frail and tired and pale. She was leaning against the frame of the door in her pajamas.

“I’ll let you two have a moment,” her mother said, slipping her feet into her flip-flops to go outside. “I’ll just go for a little stroll and get some coffee. Need some fresh air.” She grabbed her purse, turned to Sarah with a little smile, and snuck by Daniel and out the door.

He walked over to her, as Sarah sat herself on the couch. She knew he might hate her if she told him. Never forgive her for keeping the truth from him. Never understand why she did what she did.

“What’s going on with you?” he asked, genuinely concerned for her wellbeing.

“I just lost a baby,” she said. “Five days ago.”

He knelt down in front of her. He felt weak himself.

“And the baby was ours,” he said. He put his head on her lap, the heaviness of the situation almost too much for him to bear. She touched his hair.

“Yes,” she said, one of her own tears falling onto the side of his face. “So much to be sorry for,” she said.

He could feel the guilt piling on. How could he not have known? Why hadn’t she told him? He felt the need to explain.

“It’s not that I didn’t love you—don’t love you. I do. I was just scared for the two of us. I wasn’t sure if you were over Jim or ready to take that next step. I didn’t know how to handle it, so I thought that by allowing some distance we could figure it out—that it would be helpful. I never should have assumed anything. I never should have allowed this to happen.”

“We both allowed it to happen,” she said. “And I was ridiculously stubborn and acted like a child. I should never have kept this from you.”

Silence filled the air for a moment, as they processed it all, she so relieved to see him, and he, wishing he could have been there for her, trying to resist being angry that she hadn’t told him. Would she ever have told him? He had to ask.

“Yes…I was planning on telling you, I just didn’t know how,” she said.

“How are you feeling now?” he asked, worry all over his face, as he looked at her and moved the hair that was falling into her eyes away from her face.

“Exhausted. Like I don’t want to look back. Like I can’t look back. I only have the energy to look forward,” she said.

He got up and sat next to her on the couch. Daniel folded his hand into hers, holding it, caressing the top of it with his other hand, and Sarah rested her head on his shoulder.

The End.

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